Best of The Gazette, Dec. 10: Drivers, mail and a troubled church
The Gazette publishes a lot of news in a week. Combine that with all the distractions a weekend brings, and that means there's a good chance you might have missed some important stories. Here's a look at of some of The Gazette's best content from the last week or so:
In the past year, three men from Whitewater's Kettle Moraine Baptist Church have pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting children. And one already was a convicted sex offender who met his victims through the church. The Gazette decided to find out how that could happen.
The October unemployment rate for Rock County—also known as the Janesville Metropolitan Statistical Area—was 6.9 percent, down from the 7.1 percent reported in September and below the 7.2 percent tallied in October 2012, the Department of Workforce Development reported. To find a lower unemployment rate would require a trip back to October 2008—the middle of the Great Recession—when the local area had unemployment of 6.6 percent.
The winter sports season is upon us. Hopes are high for a number of area teams and athletes. Is a gold ball in the future for any of the area boys and girls basketball teams? Will the spotlight shine on any wrestlers? And why does the WIAA continue to host the boys state swim meet at the outdated and sorely lacking UW-Natatorium? Here's a preview of what to watch for in the area from the seven winter sports from Gazette sports writer John Barry.
Nick Garey started doing the math after his first two games. The 18-year-old bowler had posted games of 236 and 265 to open his three-game series during the VFW Eagles junior league at RiversEdge Bowl recently. “I was like, 'Wow, I could get an 800 series if I got a 299 or a 300. But what are the chances of that happening?'” Garey said. Turns out, they were pretty good. He went on to roll his first 300, giving him an 801 series.
Assembly lawmakers are boasting about approving bills that would strengthen state laws. These measures, however, still must pass the Senate. Even if they do, combining these changes with current state laws is like trying to fend off the Grim Reaper with a toothpick, The Gazette Editorial Board writes. If lawmakers want to stop the resulting carnage on our highways, they must get serious and resist the moneyed interests of the powerful alcohol lobby.
The Gazette's local news editor, Sid Schwartz, likens a story to a tree with many branches. We can't possibly go down every one. We have to pick what we believe are the most important and relevant branches, Editor Scott Angus writes. Often, those choices are tough ones, as demonstrated by a recent call from a local official.
Just when you think the Holiday Light Show at Janesville's Rotary Botanical Gardens can't get any better, organizers dazzle you with more of everything. The 2013 show features 30,000 more lights than last year. “It is just incredible,” said Mary Fanning-Penny, executive director.
This has been an active year for new restaurant openings in Madison—a sign of a confident local economy. One of the newest is a place called The Spot, and it's among restaurant reviewer Bill Livick's favorites of 2013. It offers quality food at affordable prices and serves beer, wine and specialty drinks at its East Johnson Street location, about a mile east of the Capitol Square.
While many birds fly south for the winter, that's not the case for pigeons. These creatures imprint on an area as babies and return there every night—even in the winter. Community blogger Glen Loyd recently caught one such group shivering in unison on a power line.
Sick of raking your fall leaves year after year? Garden blogger Janice Peterson might have good news for you. Some towns are encouraging residents to mulch their leaves and leave them to decompose right on their lawns.
With the approach of the year's busiest mailing day—Monday, Dec. 16—new and improved technology at the U.S. Postal Service keeps the seasonal avalanche of cards and packages moving at a fast clip. Columnist Anna Marie Lux and Photo Editor Bill Olmsted took a look into what it takes to move so much mail.
Edgerton High's boys basketball team christened its school's new gym floor with a victory Friday night. Jacob Zeimet and Brennan Deegan scored 15 points each to lead the Crimson Tide to a 64-48 Rock Valley North win over Whitewater. The Gazette was there to capture the action.